Twenty-seven members of the Islamic State’s sleeper cells were arrested by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in trenches discovered near Hasakah city in northeast Syria, North Press Agency reported on Friday.
Four trenches used by ISIS sleeper cells to hide were found during the second phase of an operation launched in the al-Hawl Camp on Thursday, the Kurdish internal forces known as Asayish announced on Friday.
Cihan Henan, an executive of the al-Hawl Camp, said that the camp administration had requested the operation due to an increase in murders and other similar incidents that had jeopardised the camp’s security.
Tents of ISIS members have also been removed thanks to the operation inside the camp, she added.
The first phase of Operation “Humanity and Security” started in 2021 in response to calls of community and tribal leaders to reduce crimes at the camp, which is home to more than 55 thousand people, mostly ISIS-affiliated women and children of different nationalities.
According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), 30 people have been killed in 28 murder incidents in the camp since the beginning of the year.
More than 100 people, including many women, have been murdered in the detention camp near the Syria-Iraq border in the last 18 months, the United Nations announced in July.
Kurdish forces are wary that the recent escalation of Turkish attacks in northern Syria will allow ISIS to reorganise its ranks, North Press cited a statement by the management as saying.
The SDF played a key role in defeating ISIS in northern Syria as the main ally of the US-led coalition forces fighting against the jihadi group. Turkey sees People’s Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the SDF, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and a threat to its national security.
Turkey has recently increased its attacks targeting Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria and has announced plans to launch a new military operation to establish a 30-kilometre safe zone along the border in order to clear northwest Syria from the YPG.